26 January 2013

Chocolate-almond-coconut brownies with caramel-Kahlua glaze

Feeling like some chocolate? Going a little nutty for it, even? It's OK, it happens to the best of us at times. Sometimes, it's best just to give in, especially after a long week of working or studying or writing or whatever it is normal people do. (I clearly have yet to entirely figure this out for myself.) These brownies should prove satisfying to just about any chocolate craving you may be suffering from, no matter how strong. Highly adapted from a recipe from the talented Chloe Coscarelli's Chloe's Kitchen, one of my Christmas presents, I nevertheless tossed some extra ingredients in to make it my own, partly to satisfy another of my cravings: coffee. Hence the Kahlua, a coffee-flavoured liqueur. I also had some coconut flakes and almonds lying around, which made for a delectable and eye-popping garnish. Not content to stop there (sometimes that lily just needs to be gilded, OK!), I made a little caramel glaze, also tinged with some Kahlua, to spread out over top of these. The result: nutty, coffee-flavoured morsels of chocolate heaven, that may even have the potential to get you slightly drunk if you eat enough of them. Score!

One caveat: my pan was way bigger than I estimated (I believe it was 10 by 14 inches, or possibly 9 by 13) and so these didn't spread all the way to the sides, resulting in some brownies that were thinner than others. Part of the problem was that the initial recipe I was working off was designed for an 8 by 8 pan (i.e., a pretty standard-issue brownie pan, which I don't own for some reason), which led me to multiply those ingredients by about 1.75. I would recommend using a smaller pan or multiplying the ingredients (as listed below) by at least 1.5.

to make the brownies:

1-3/4 cup   dark chocolate chips (I use a dairy-free variety from a company called Freddo that I found in the fondue aisle of my local grocery store. You may be able to find different and better varieties.)
1 tbsp   dairy-free margarine or butter
1-1/3 cup   whole wheat flour
7/8 cup   natural cane sugar
3-1/2 tbsp   unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp   baking soda
pinch   salt
7/8 cup   almond milk
1/2 cup   canola oil
1-1/2 tbsp   apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp   vanilla extract
1-1/2 tbsp   Kahlua
3/4 cup   dark chocolate chips, finely chopped (or just buy a smaller version of the kind I used. Yeah that would have been a lot smarter. But it's cold out. So sue me.)
enough for sprinkling   coconut flakes and chopped almonds

to make the caramel-Kahlua glaze:

1/3 cup   dairy-free margarine or butter
1/4 cup   dark brown sugar
1/2 cup   natural cane sugar (The different sugars are just because I ran out of brown sugar. Again, cold out, sue me. If you have enough brown sugar, just use 3/4 cup of that.)
1/4 cup   Kahlua
2 tsp   maple syrup
pinch   sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a pan. (See note above re: size of pan.)

Heat chocolate chips (unchopped) and butter/ margarine in microwave for roughly 1 min, 30 seconds, stopping halfway through to stir.

Meanwhile, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined. In a medium bowl, stir together almond milk, canola oil, vinegar, vanilla, and Kahlua. Pour the wet mixture into the big bowl with the dry and stir just until combined (be careful not to over-stir; this batter will be thick and sticky enough as it is). Once your chocolate's melted, stir that in, along with the chopped chips. Pour the batter into the pan and spread out to the sides (again, it was quite thick for me, so this may require two sturdy, big spoons and/or a spatula). Sprinkle coconut flakes and almond chunks evenly over top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

While your brownies are cooling, prepare your glaze. Over medium-low heat, melt the butter/ margarine in a medium frying pan. Stir in the sugar and salt and bring to a bubble, stirring frequently. Let simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add Kahlua and maple syrup and let bubble away for another minute or so. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. With a spoon, drizzle over brownies until fully coated. They're now ready to go!

Yield: ~36 brownies

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